Pine Trees vs Spruce Trees
Evergreens and conifers are easy to tell apart but when it comes to choosing between different types of conifers, things can get tricky. If you love conifers and are considering adding some to your yard, it is a good idea to know the difference between pine trees vs spruce trees before you start planning out your landscape.
Pine Trees vs Spruce Trees
How Do You Identify Conifers?
Most, if not all deciduous trees will shed their leaves in the cold, including pine and spruce trees. Conifers in particular feature needles and not leaves which is the easiest way to spot conifers. Further identifying different types is also easier than you may think. Spruce trees have needles that are individually attached to the branch, and pine needles are attached to the branches in clusters.
Also, it is common to call cones from conifer trees pinecones, but in reality not all cone producing conifers are pine trees. Both pine trees and spruce trees produce cones, but they have a distinctly different shape that can further help you differentiate between them. Spruce cones have thin scales that feel rather flexible, pine cones have woody scales that feel rigid. In both cases, the scales grow outward from the center stalk of the cone in an attractive shape.
The most common conifers you will find in residential areas are the spruce, fir, and pine tree. All of these are evergreen which makes them an excellent choice for those looking for low-maintenance trees for their yard. They also have a similar pyramidal shape and needle color which often leads to confusion when identifying a specific species.
The Beauty of Pine Trees
Pines are the most common type of evergreens found on residential properties. With 125 species to choose from, it is easy to find one that suits not only your climate but also your landscaping style. Pine trees are easy to care for and thrive in almost every climate. They need partial sun but can tolerate just about any type of soil. Good drainage will ensure the roots stay healthy for the life of the tree. White pines are great for those who are looking for shade, privacy, or a windbreaker for their home. Mugo pines are a good option for people with smaller yards, or who seek to add pines for looks more than function.
The Beauty of Spruce Trees
There are 35 known species of spruce trees, each of which offers its own flavor and style to any space. They grow upright and require little to no care other than occasional pruning. The branches tend to grow horizontally with straight trunks making them an attractive choice for ambitious landscapers. Spruce trees are also most often used as Christmas trees for their uniform look and solid A-lien shape. As planted trees, they offer both shade and a barrier for winter winds making it a smart choice for any residential property.
The blue spruce is one of the most popular ornamental species that is known for its unique blue tint. It is a slow-growing tree but once mature can reach between 30 and 60 feet. The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is another slow-growing tree that tends to top out at around 12 feet. It is often used to frame driveways and doorways in an attractive manner.
Which Tree Should You Choose: Spruce or Pine?
Both pine and spruce will look stunning in your yard. Evergreen trees offer a generous amount of shade and privacy all year long. If you are considering evergreens because of the year-round color, or even if you are looking for a coniferous tree to cut down on leaf raking, both options will fit both requirements.
There are a lot of different coniferous trees to choose from within the species and understanding the care needed will greatly determine which is best for your yard. When choosing between spruce trees and pine trees, consider their purpose. Are you looking for a tree to provide shade or are you mainly interested in its ornamental value? The way you plan to use the tree will help you choose between a spruce and a pine.
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